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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 21 November 2018

Gas production at Egypt's 9B field to begin in October, minister says

Whole project, including other wells, set for completion in second half of 2019

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (C) speaking during a ceremony to inaugurate production of the Zohr gas field, in the city of Port Said, Egypt in January. Gas production at Egypt's 9B field will begin in October. 
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (C) speaking during a ceremony to inaugurate production of the Zohr gas field, in the city of Port Said, Egypt in January. Gas production at Egypt's 9B field will begin in October. 

Production of natural gas from two deepwater wells at Shell's West Nile Delta field 9B in Egypt will begin in the first half of October, the country's petroleum minister said on Friday.

Tarek El Molla said in a statement that the whole project, which includes several other wells being dug and linked to production, was set for completion in the second half of 2019 and that its output aims to reach 400 million cubic feet per day.

The statement did not say how much gas the first two wells would initially produce.

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Egypt plans to become a regional hub for the trade of liquefied natural gas after a string of major discoveries in the Mediterranean that are expected to make Egypt self-sufficient in gas by the end of 2018.

The discoveries include the mammoth offshore Zohr gas field.

Italian oil company Eni said last week that the daily production capacity of Zohr stood at 1.6 billion cubic feet and would reach 2b by September. Discovered in 2015 by Eni, Zohr contains an estimated 30 trillion cubic feet of gas.

Egypt in February issued long-awaited executive regulations to allow the private sector to import natural gas directly, hoping to attract greater private-sector participation in the country’s rapidly expanding gas sector.

The discovery of large amounts of offshore gas in Egyptian waters, including the giant Zohr gasfield, has caused hope for another source of revenue with Egypt as a potential gas hub for the region.

Mr El Molla said earlier that Egypt was committed to paying off its debts to foreign oil companies by the end of 2019.

Those debts stood at $1.2b at the end of June, their lowest since 2010 when they were around $1.3b, he said.